MAY 2022
The Synergy Conference 2022 was a huge success! This year's conference featured over 40 virtual and in-person workshops and plenaries in Arts & Literacy, Closing Gaps, College & Career Readiness, Organizational Capacity, Public/Private Partnerships, Social and Emotional Learning, S.T.E.M., and Youth Development. We hope that all of this year's attendees, whether virtual or in-person, enjoyed the engaging keynote speakers, a dynamic range of workshop topics, and opportunities to network with providers from across the state. 

We would be remiss if we didn't take the time to acknowledge and thank everyone that made this year's conference a success. Thank you to all of our sponsors and partners, especially the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, for making the conference possible! We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to our AWESOME keynote speakers and panelists, who inspired us and challenged us to persevere in our efforts to build tomorrow's leaders. Thank you to the amazing vendors who shared invaluable resources with our conference attendees that can be utilized within programs statewide. Thank you to our workshop presenters, who offered an extensive array of workshop sessions. Your expertise and passion are unrivaled. Last but certainly not least, thank you to all of our attendees, whether virtual or in-person, for all that you have done and will do to support, inspire, and prepare our youth for their futures as we all move Forward.

All aspects of the virtual Synergy Conference 2022 will be accessible on the iCohere platform through Friday, June 24th. This provides all registered attendees with nearly two additional months beyond the live conference week to engage with every feature of the virtual conference experience including access to the live plenary recordings, workshop sessions, vendors, and the networking lounge.

We can't wait to see you next year! Be on the lookout for details pertaining to Synergy 2023!
On February 3, 2022, The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) - funded STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center created the My STEM Adventure App. The app is a fully accessible/born accessible app that will guide families or other adults in children's lives to engage in STEM activities with young children from birth to 5 years old. The app provides step-by-step guidance for families or teachers to lead young children, including those with disabilities, on adventures in their homes or neighborhoods to learn about STEM. The prototype is now available and has been tested with families and practitioners with young children with disabilities. STEMIE is continuing to develop more adventures and additional accessibility features this year.

To learn more, click here.
Most North Carolina Parents Say Afterschool Programs Provide the Social, Developmental, Mental Health Supports Many Students Need Now

As Many Youth Cope with Anxiety and Depression, North Carolina Parents Recognize that Afterschool Programs Support Recovery and Wellness

Most North Carolina parents see afterschool programs as part of the solution to the social and mental health struggles so many students are experiencing right now, with 5 in 6 saying these programs give students time to engage with peers and reduce unproductive screen time, and 3 in 4 saying they help build confidence. That is according to Promoting Healthy Futures: Afterschool Provides the Supports Parents Want for Children's Well-Being, a household survey released by the Afterschool Alliance. Afterschool programs are especially important now, as the country faces a youth mental health crisis. In December, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a sobering warning about the mental health of America's youth, warning that rates of anxiety, depression, and sadness rose dramatically during the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just reported that 4 in 10 high school students report feeling "persistently sad or hopeless" and 1 in 5 have contemplated suicide. The CDC noted that "school connectedness" is a protective factor for youth facing mental health challenges.

The household survey the Afterschool Alliance released includes responses from more than 31,000 U.S. parents of school-age children, including 927 in North Carolina. It was conducted by Edge Research in 2020. It shows that parents see afterschool and summer learning programs as pivotal support that young people need. Seventy-three percent of North Carolina parents of afterschool students report the program helps their child learn responsible decision-making and 96% report it helps their child build positive relationships with caring adults and mentors.

To learn more about the report, please click here
Please note that only 5 programs will be selected. Priority will be given to programs located in counties with less than five identified STEM Assets within the STEM Asset Mapping Database. To view the STEM Asset Mapping Database, click here.
As most Congressional offices are only accepting virtual meetings, the Afterschool Alliance is holding a series of virtual advocacy events over the week of May 16 to make the case for sustained investments in afterschool and summer. Please join NC CAP, the Afterschool Alliance, and other statewide networks for one or more of the options below:

  • Federal Opportunities for Afterschool Briefing - Tuesday, May 17, 3-4:30 pm ET
  • Join us to learn more about how to demonstrate to Congress that ARP investments in afterschool and summer are paying off and make the case for increased ongoing federal investments.
  • Afterschool Call-In/Email - Wednesday, May 18
  • Supporters of afterschool will reach out to members of Congress about the importance of afterschool and summer opportunities and why ongoing federal support is essential to help youth thrive.
  • Afterschool Tweetstorm - Thursday, May 19, 3-4 pm ET
  • Supporters of afterschool will reach out to legislators via Twitter.
  • Congressional Meetings - Wednesday to Friday, May 18-20, 2022
  • State teams of advocates will participate in virtual meetings with Congressional offices to express the importance of supporting and funding afterschool programs.

To register for one or all of the events, click here.

If you are interested in participating in the National Afterschool For All Challenge by advocating for North Carolina Afterschool, Before School, and Summer programs, please email NC CAP at to express your interest. Virtual Advocacy Meetings with North Carolina Congressional Leaders will occur the week of May May 16th as a part of the National Afterschool For All Challenge.
National Summer Learning Week is a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school ready to succeed in the year. This year, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is bringing back themes that you can use to highlight activities during the celebration. Some suggested themes are: Discover STEM and Soar, Winning at Health and Wellness, Make a Masterpiece, Celebrate Future Leaders, and Dive into a Book Adventure. This year, NSLA has brand new resources for families to enjoy like so families can discover summer programs, both in-person and virtual, right in their community.

This year's National Summer Learning Week is July 11th -15th, 2022.

To learn more, click here.
The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year the Afterschool Alliance is changing its theme to reflect how youth see themselves and their futures because of their afterschool program! We've been through a lot over the past few years. Afterschool programs have stepped up their game to support children and families during the pandemic and they continue to provide those supports through the summer. This year, they want you to see artwork that addresses one of the following prompts:

  • What my afterschool means to me...
  • Show us how special your afterschool program is to you. Let us know what makes it stand out and what your program has done to help you succeed.

  • My afterschool program has helped prepare me for the future...
  • Did your afterschool program introduce you to a new career you didn't know existed? Maybe your program taught you a new skill that you'd like to sharpen. Show us how your program has helped you decide on how to prepare for your future.

  • My favorite thing about my afterschool program is...
  • Show us what you love while attending your program!

As always, the winning artwork will be printed on more than 50,000 posters that will be displayed at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events around the world. The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers. The winning artist will be featured on the Afterschool Alliance website, blog, and a national press release, and their afterschool program will be credited on the poster, in addition to receiving the grand prize of $500!

The Afterschool Alliance has provided an entry form to capture all the necessary information that they need, as well as a set of rules and guidelines governing this year's contest. Be sure to complete the full form and include it with your artwork submission postmarked no later than May 16. Digital submissions are accepted no later than May 16.

Be creative, and most importantly, have fun!
To learn more, click here.
Youth Service America's 2022-2023 Partner Grants are a strategy for increasing youth participation rates to 50% by America's Semiquincentinnial (America250) in July 2026. With generous support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, YSA will award Afterschool Grants of up to $500 each to support youth-led service or service-learning opportunities in up to 60 afterschool programs.

Grants are offered on a competitive application basis and open to any afterschool program that meets the following requirements:

  • Engage at least 50 youth as volunteers in service or service-learning projects during the 2022-2023 academic year;
  • 50% of youth engaged are from low-income, underserved communities;
  • Focus on engaging middle-school and high-school-aged youth; and
  • Submit an online impact report by June 1, 2023.

Activities can take place any time during the 2022-2023 school year. YSA will provide additional planning resources to grantees for 9/11 Day of Service (September 11, 2022), MLK Day of Service (January 16, 2023), and/or Global Youth Service Day (Late April or Early May 2023). Participation for these days is encouraged, but not required.

Applicants must be based in the United States. Applicants may work locally, regionally, or statewide. Afterschool coalitions or multi-site programs are encouraged to apply and may be eligible for multiple grants.

To learn more, click here.
Applications are due May 20, 2022.
Triangle Women in STEM is hosting the Girls Scouts STEM Day at Duke University on Saturday, May 14, 2022. All middle and high school students are invited to attend fun-packed hours of interactive STEM activities, led by STEM professionals. All participants will be provided a STEM kit containing all required materials for a hands-on workshop!

Both Girl Scouts and Non-Girl Scout members are welcome! If registering multiple students, please register each separately. This event is free for all students.

To register youth, click here.

Triangle Women in STEM is also seeking STEM professionals to volunteer to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. There are three opportunities for volunteers: (1) STEM Career Mentors; (2) Photographers and Videographers; and (3) Event Facilitators. Duke University requires all volunteers to take the "Working with Minors" training (approximately 15 minutes online) and have a Background Check done (Duke University will conduct and cover the costs).

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Girl Scouts STEM Day at Duke University, click here.
If you've been following the Afterschool Alliance's COVID work, you know they have been working to track how and where federal COVID relief funding has been tapped to support young people with comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment programs. Three major funding bills - the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (2020), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act (2020), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act (2021) - provided billions of dollars to states and localities to support communities, families, and youth. The American Rescue Plan, in particular, directed significant funds to state education agencies and school districts to be used to support students' well-being and learning acceleration, naming comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment and learning programs as evidence-based strategies to employ. State education agencies were directed to set aside funds for afterschool and summer, and school districts were given guidance to do so.

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to unveil a new map illustrating where funds have been invested in comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment programs. Thus far, they have gathered more than 100 examples and have representation from every state. For now, most cover state education agencies' use of funds, as those funds flowed first and had specific guidelines for investing in afterschool and summer. However, the larger portion of funds available to support afterschool and summer programs lies at the school district level and has yet to be expended in total.

To learn more, click here.
Triangle Esports Academy is an educational video gaming facility located in Cary, NC. Triangle Esports brings an innovative approach to video gaming by implementing STEM education, life skills development, health and wellness, and internet safety.

Triangle Esports Academy uses games like Minecraft, Roblox, and more to teach STEM such as PC building, engineering, and coding, as well as innovative upcoming industries like cyber security, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and more!

To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) has created an Afterschool Advocacy webpage. The webpage is a compilation of resources and opportunities related to afterschool advocacy. In addition to the webpage, NC CAP has also released the Advocacy Toolkit. This toolkit highlights a variety of ways to engage youth and adults in high-quality advocacy opportunities.

To learn more, click here.
Every person who works with young people is committed to helping them thrive. On athletic fields, in afterschool programs, in libraries, in faith-based institutions, youth-serving professionals and volunteers are making a difference every day. Through the Power of Us Workforce Survey, youth-serving professionals and volunteers can contribute to a national effort to explore, define, and elevate their profession. Take the survey today!

To take the survey, click here.
STEM is an all-encompassing term that describes fields covering science, technology, engineering, and math. Do you want to be on TV? You can appear on North Carolina STEM Explorers, a brand new show that will air on WWAY-TV this fall.

Middle-school-aged students are needed to be hosts on this show as they explore STEM all across the state.

If you know someone who fits these criteria and wants to audition, simply stop by WWAY-TVs Event Center on Saturday, May 21st. Auditions will be held from 3 to 6 pm. You can also send a short audition video to the following email address: WWAY is located at 1224 Magnolia Village Way in Leland, NC.

To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) is a part of the Million Girls Moonshot, helping out-of-school time programs as they increase the quality of STEM learning opportunities for young people, especially for underserved and underrepresented youth. Learn more here.

The Moonshot seeks to re-imagine who can engineer, who can build, and who can make. It will inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over the next 5 years.

Every state is asking afterschool and summer programs to share more about how they do STEM. Please join this important effort! Your answers will help us to better understand how we can best support afterschool and summer programs statewide. The survey should take 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Everyone who responds will be entered into a drawing to win one of ten $100 Visa gift cards.
To take the survey, click here.
DAY OF AI - MAY 13, 2022
STEM Day of AI is May 13, 2022, when K-12 students across the country will engage in a series of freely available hands-on activities designed to introduce them to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it plays a part in their lives today.

All Day of AI activities are designed to be taught by educators with little or no technology background and to be accessible to students of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with little to no technology experience. The only requirements are an internet connection and a Chromebook or laptop.

Day of AI activities are organized by age group and can be run in 30 minutes to 1-hour time blocks. Up to 4 hours of lesson plans are provided for each grade band and teachers can choose to run any number of the lessons provided. Projects will be shared through the entire Day of AI with a series of pop-up events across the country.

To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 
The Afterschool Advantage (ASA) program is IGT's flagship community initiative, devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in communities where IGT operates. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Centene is offering general operating grants of up to $500,000 to organizations that fall within one or more of the following areas of focus: Health, Education, Children, and the Arts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Discover is offering grants of up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations working in the areas of education and literacy. Funding, donations, and sponsorships are intended to support programs and initiatives that meet the needs of various communities across the country, with a particular focus on communities where Discover employees live and work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dogwood Health Trust seeks to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. They are interested in projects that address one or more of their strategic priorities: Housing, Education, Economic Opportunity, and Health and Wellness and that align with their overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They also have interests in projects related to improving broadband access to support education and healthcare bridging rural divides, and addressing racial equity issues. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Graef Family Foundation is a broad-purpose charitable fund that responds to requests that are deemed most appropriate to promote education, the arts, social welfare, medical research, and religion as determined by the Board of Trustees. Applications are due on May 31st, 2022.

The NC GlaxoSmithKline Traditional Grants provides grants of $25,000 and above to organizations to help meet the educational and health needs of today's society and future generations. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to making strategic investments to build powerful communities where nature and wildlife thrive, youth can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. These grants support programs that prevent summer reading loss, while also advancing energy, engineering, and environmental education. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Saxena Family Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charitable foundation headquartered in Austin, TX. The Foundation awards grants and supports programs that have a particular focus on STEM education and around empowering women in the United States and in India. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Your Voice is Power provides students and teachers an introduction to computer science through a real-world exploration of how music, computer science, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial justice. Amazon Future Engineer is providing students with a chance to create an original remix of various songs by recording artists such as Pharell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Khalid using coding. Applications for Round Two close on June 19th, 2022.

Public Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that help students that are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs; purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives; and purchasing books, materials, or software for literacy programs. Applications are due on May 19th, 2022.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |